4 Mistakes to Avoid When Assessing DevOps Candidates illustration

In tech hiring, technical assessment is the key step in selecting the right candidate. Yet, even with the best intentions, companies often make avoidable mistakes. Drawing from HDO’s experience in tech assessment, we highlight the four common pitfalls and how to navigate them in 2024.

1. Not Updating Assessment Criteria

  • Problem: The DevOps landscape evolves rapidly with new tools, practices, and methodologies emerging regularly. Using outdated criteria can lead to missing out on candidates who are versed in the latest, most relevant skills.

  • HDO’s Solution: It’s essential for companies to stay informed about the latest industry trends and practices. Regularly scheduled reviews can ensure that the assessment criteria remain relevant. Engage with industry experts and participate in tech forums to keep a pulse on emerging technologies and methodologies. By doing so, companies can ensure they are evaluating candidates on the most pertinent skills and knowledge areas.

2. Failing to Assess Hands-On Experience with Real-World Scenarios

  • Problem: While candidates might be well-versed in theory or have certifications, it doesn’t always translate to hands-on experience in real-world environments. A candidate might ace a multiple-choice questionnaire about a specific tool but may struggle to implement or troubleshoot it in a live scenario.

  • HDO’s Solution: Incorporate practical tests that simulate real-world challenges. For instance, you can set up a sandbox environment where the candidate has to deploy a particular application, identify the root cause of poor code performance, or optimize an existing setup. Observing their approach can provide insights into their practical knowledge, resourcefulness, and decision-making skills in real-life scenarios.

3. One-Size-Fits-All Approach

  • Problem: DevOps, as a discipline, covers a wide spectrum of roles and responsibilities. From Infrastructure as Code (IaC) to Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD), from cloud architecture to monitoring and logging. Using a single, generic assessment for all these diverse roles can lead to a mismatch in the evaluation. Such a broad-brushed approach can result in hiring candidates with a mismatched skill set or missing out on highly specialized talent.

  • HDO’s Solution: It’s important to tailor assessments according to the specific requirements of each role. For a DevOps engineer focusing on CI/CD pipelines, the assessment might include tasks related to Jenkins, GitLab CI, or CircleCI. In contrast, someone concentrating on IaC might be evaluated on tools like Terraform or Ansible. By customizing the evaluations, companies can ensure an accurate match between the candidate’s abilities and the job’s requirements.

4. Neglecting Soft Skills and Problem-Solving Abilities

  • Problem: The very nature of DevOps—which emphasizes collaboration between development and operations—requires engineers to possess exceptional communication skills, teamwork, and an understanding of the business domain. Ignoring these soft skills can lead to bottlenecks, miscommunications, and inefficiencies. Moreover, the ability to troubleshoot under pressure, and come up with innovative solutions is paramount in a field where systems can go down, and every minute of downtime can translate to significant revenue loss.

  • HDO’s Solution: For a complete candidate assessment, go beyond technical evaluations. HDO advises using scenario-based questions for problem-solving insights. Simulate situations like system downtimes to judge responses. Engage in group discussions or role-plays to evaluate communication, teamwork, and cross-departmental collaboration. This thorough approach ensures hiring DevOps engineers with technical expertise and strong soft skills.

Avoiding these common mistakes in the assessment process is crucial for hiring the right talent. With HDO’s insights and tools, companies can refine their hiring practices, ensuring they onboard candidates who are technically proficient.

To further appreciate the impact of a streamlined hiring process, dive into our detailed analysis of The ROI of Technical Assessments in Hiring: Cost Savings with HDO. Understand firsthand how the right assessment tools not only lead to better hires but also substantial cost savings.